Go Out Green and Local with Green Burial.
The Natural Funeral is a pioneer in the introduction and promotion of green burial in Boulder county, Colorado. Most cemeteries require burial vaults which are plastic, fiberglass, or cement. Most have landscaping practices that are high in water and energy usage and include the use of fertilizers and pesticides. We work with all cemeteries in Colorado to provide the greenest burial possible. Contact us to find out all the available options and learn which cemeteries are committed to offering natural choices. We do have a special relationship with the Lyons Town Cemetery, a progressive, rustic, municipal cemetery in a beautiful setting that is a partner with The Natural Funeral for green burial. In 2020, The Natural Funeral’s green burial section opened at The Lyons Town Cemetery.
Green burial in The Natural Funeral Green Burial Section of the Lyons Town Cemetery (pictured above) means:
- No embalmed bodies because this is an invasive process using toxic chemicals for temporary preservation.
- No vaults or grave-liners because these are typically plastic, fiberglass or cement.
- Only biodegradable material is allowed in the plot, including biodegradable shrouds and caskets.
- Hand-lowering with ropes is permitted.
Contact us to meet and find out more from our helpful staff at (720) 515-2344.
Testimonial about Green Burial:
I can’t say enough good things about The Natural Funeral! Our mother died in January 2021, right in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, and we were sick with COVID ourselves, so we felt especially challenged to make the right arrangements for Mom. Knowing the folks at The Natural Funeral, we felt confident that they would come through for us, and of course they more than met our high expectations. We were able to have a natural burial in a local green cemetery they referred us to, and provided such loving care with consideration to all of us, including Mother Earth. Thank you! We offer Reverent Body Care® for your loved-one at death, and assistance with after-death vigils before any burial. We can provide Conventional burial with green options such as natural, Reverent Body Care®, and a natural, biodegradable casket or shroud. We can also assist with after-death vigils including Reverent Body Care™ before burial. When you purchase a plot at a conventional cemetery, you will most likely be required to purchase an outer burial container/vault which may be plastic, fiberglass, or cement). It is also likely you will need to pay for opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care of the gravesite.
Green Burial on Private Land
We can advise on the steps and procedures for burial on private land, which may or may not be permissible, depending on where you live. Colorado law allows for this but specific rules vary county-by-county. In Boulder county, green burial can happen on unincorporated land, but check with your local zoning office for details. See our Services Page for specific information about our burial packages and prices.
1. What is Conventional Burial?
A typical conventional burial is in a cemetery that requires a graveliner or a vault or outer burial container (as cemetery policy, not as a legal requirement). Remains may be chemically embalmed or not. There are generally no rules for the casket material (it is not necessary for the casket to biodegrade). Landscaping may be resource intensive, include high water usage for non-native vegetation, and involve the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
2. What is the environmental impact of conventional burial?
Each year, in US cemeteries, we bury:
- Around 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid
- Around 1,000 tons of casket steel
- Around 200,000 tons of concrete in burial vaults
- Enough wood to build 40 homes.
3. What is the embalming process that The Natural Funeral chooses NOT to offer?
Embalming is an invasive process involving draining the body of fluids at death, puncturing internal organs to pump in highly carcinogenic embalming fluid, dyes and other toxic products. Despite claims to the contrary, it is not a sanitary measure but allows for the temporary preservation of the deceased’s remains. Cooling of the body is an acceptable legal alternative. In the US, modern embalming began during the Civil War. Before that, natural deathcare was the norm. The Natural Funeral offers gentle, non-invasive care of your loved-one at death with Reverent Body Preparation.
4. If you would like to bury “greener” at a conventional cemetery, how can The Natural Funeral help?
The Natural Funeral will advise and or carry out natural Reverent Body Preparation. We provide a range of natural caskets and shrouds. We can request that the outer burial container or vault be upturned to allow for contact with the earth beneath.
5. What are conventional cemetery expenses?
You will select and purchase a plot directly with the cemetery. In addition to the cost of the plot, you will need to pay for the opening and closing of the grave, any grave liner or vault required, a monument (according to cemetery specifications) and a perpetual care fee for grave upkeep and landscaping.
6. Is it possible to bury on private land in Colorado?
Yes, but it depends where you live. You should check the zoning regulations in your county to determine what is possible. Colorado also has protocols and forms for burial on private land. Contact The Natural Funeral for information and advice.
7. Is green burial cheaper than conventional burial?
Sometimes green burial is cheaper because you will not need to purchase a vault or an expensive casket, but the cost of the plot may vary. Some private cemeteries with green sections may sell green burial plots at a premium. Municipal cemeteries often offer green burial plots that are less expensive.
8. Can families participate with green burial?
Green burial lends itself to direct and meaningful connection with your loved-one at death through graveside participation and ceremony. Families may sometimes act as pallbearers, or add small amounts of earth to the grave. What is allowed will depend on each cemetery’s regulations.
9. What markers are allowed at green burial cemeteries?
This will depend on the type of cemetery and the cemetery’s regulations. Some natural burial grounds may allow only flat, on-the-ground markers of natural material such as stone.
10. What Are Other Natural Funeral Options?
- Tree Burial
- Space Burial
- Sky Burial
- Sea Burial
- Hanging Coffins
- Become a Coral Reef
11. Why more Americans are considering ‘green’ funerals
A green burial is one way to contribute to sustainable living after death. They are so novel, they might also bring some new perspective on what it means to be "green" all the time. Besides being good for the environment, there are other benefits too. Some people find them more environmentally plausible than conventional burials - cremation or burial - both of which involve energy expenditure and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
12. Is a natural burial legal in my state?
Yes, natural burial is legal in all 50 states, but you should consult with a funeral director near you before making your final decision.
13. Do Natural Burials Require a Casket?
It doesn't require a casket because unlike traditional burial, which is an embalming process typically involving the use of formaldehyde, natural burial does not require this. A burial shroud or other biodegradable container may be used instead to decrease the cost of the funeral and protect groundwater quality.
14. What is the impact on the environment from a traditional burial?
The environmental impact of a traditional burial is significant. The average coffin weighs around 275 pounds, and for an adult, 250 cubic feet of soil are needed for the burial- that translates to 25 tons per acre or 10 acres for one person's disposition. An average of 4 gallons of embalming fluid is injected into corpses during a typical funeral service, rendering over 200 liters of wastewater, posing serious health risks to U.S. waterways. Not only does this practice create more pollution in form or wasted fluids, but improper disposal can lead to burial grounds becoming pools where water collects with no drainage system, which contaminates soil and groundwater systems.
15. Are green burials cheaper than conventional ones?
Yes, green burials are less expensive than conventional ones. This is largely due to the ecological burial process which is accomplished by returning the body to mother earth in a biodegradable natural cotton or wool shroud. Green burials are not only cheaper but are better for the environment as they don't produce carbon emissions during cremation, use plenty of organic fragrance-free fibers in caskets and shrouds made from forest-grown trees and plants, and provide a roomy area for all members of society regardless of religion or finances.
16. What is the Green Burial Council?
The Green Burial Council is a nonprofit educational organization, which promotes environmentally sound burial practices. It is dedicated to establishing trust and confidence in the green burial movement by providing its members with the resources, best practices, training, environmental advocacy, and fostering an ethical community devoted to green funeral rites.
17. What is a Home Burial?
Home burial is the act of burying a person at his or her own home. If you have access to your backyard, then you can bury someone there. Some choose to plant a tree over it for beautification purposes, while others just love the peace that comes from being on one's land. Home burial is appropriate for private land with no local zoning restrictions, which means it is allowed in all but Arkansas. All other United States states allow for home burials, and there are no restrictions on location and depth of grave so long as they observe appropriate health and sanitary requirements.
18. Can You Be Buried On Your Own Property?
It is technically possible to be buried on your own property, but laws regulate where individuals can be interred. The law in many states says that if the property has not been zoned for anything except burial, then someone could be buried on their privately owned property. However, burial laws are constantly changing, so it is best to check with an attorney or research your state's laws.